Mensa Fonds Awards: why?

why give awards for high intelligence

Mensa Fonds Awards

In 2012-2013, Mensa the Netherlands worked with great enthusiasm to create a ‘daughter’, the Dutch Mensa Foundation. It was inspired by the American Mensa Foundation that was founded in 1971 already. Somehow no ‘Mensa country’ followed that example so Mensa the Netherlands decided to be the first one and hopes for more Mensa countries to do the same and create a worldwide network of Mensa foundations. Every country has its own motives and issues to fulfill the overall Mensa mission that highly intelligent people cooperate ‘for the benefit of humanity’. What the benefit is, differs by country and that is OK.
In the Netherlands, one of the things we started to do from the very beginning in 2013 is giving Mensa Fonds Awards in the fields of Education, Society and Work. The awards are not given ‘for’ high intelligence; they are given for the role a person played, the example that person shows or the product or service a person invented in that field. We need that in the Netherlands because we have a culture that is rather focused on the ‘average’ and ‘fitting in’ and much less to be ‘out of the box’ and ‘stand out’. Dutch society will benefit a lot with awareness of HIQ potential and active measures to use and develop extraordinary talent. This is why the Awards were created.
Everybody can come up with proposals for nominations – a jury chooses 3 candidates per field that receive an official nomination from our Mensa Foundation. This week, the names of the nominations for 2015 will be published. November 7, everybody is welcome to join the meeting in Leiden where the names of the Mensa Fonds Awards winners will be made public and nominees and winners will be honored! And we are happy that Mensa member professor John Grin will speak at the event about ‘creativity, setback and inspiration’. More info at It is in Dutch but for anyone joining, we will do our best to make you feel home also if your Dutch is limited. Talent and intelligence are transnational indeed, aren’t they! Let’s go for the benefit of humanity in all its aspects…

Another blog that might interest you: Professor Mönks receives international Mensa Award

Read also: Perceptions of Power
Or: Left Handers Day and High Giftedness

Finals Mensa SlimmerIQuiz coming up

mensa slimmeriquiz finals  The finals for the Mensa SlimmerIQuiz are coming up! 26th November the University of Amsterdam, a Top 50 University worldwide, will host 23 teams of 3 kids in the age of 11/12 to fight the final battle…
The teams have already survived 2 prior rounds, the 1st round at their own school, the 2nd round at regional highschools supporting education for the highly gifted. Now the next step is Amsterdam.
Last year Mensa the Netherlands started this project for our 50th anniversary and it was a good and promising start. See also for a review from the point of view jury. In 2013 we started with 300 kids in the first round, this year it was 2500 (!) kids already.
Mensa NL invented SlimmerIQuiz to show that being smart is fun and that it is nice to be challenged. Well, the 2014 finals are not going to disappoint the kids. Not only will they have great and tough SlimmerIQuiz finals in an very beautiful place (, they will also follow a mini-lecture by Robbert Dijkgraaf, a leading scientist from both the University of Amsterdam and Princeton. That is going to be so interesting! Please find all info at and support our mission to appreciate intelligence as a source of challenge and fun.

Other blogs about the SlimmerIQuiz:
Maak kennis met Mensa SlimmerIQuiz presentator!
Jurylid SlimmerIQuiz: inventiviteit viert hoogtij

Spanish Mensa and Spanish Princess

Spanish Mensa will meet the Spanish Princess!
August 2011 we were 15 Mensa women to visit our Princess (now Queen) Máxima, a meeting in which we could tell all about the life of high gifted people in our society and listen to the ideas of our Princess on the subject. It was a very nice visit at her home De Eikenhorst in Wassenaar:

It inspired Mensa Spain to take a similar step. In 2012, during the 65th anniversary of Mensa International, the chair of Mensa Spain requested a meeting with the Spanish Royal Family. Next 8 May, Princess Letizia will receive a group of Mensans to better understand the Mensa Spain association. Congratulations Mensa Spain!
I hope this meeting will be relevant to Mensa Spain and to Mensa in general and that it will be a very nice meeting, like we had with Princess Máxima. See also (in Spanish)

Read here about 50 years Mensa the Netherlands
And here about Mensa Fonds NL

Jurylid SlimmerIQuiz: inventiviteit viert hoogtij

willem Willem Bouwens, oud-voorzitter van Mensa Nederland en van Mensa International, was jurylid bij de finale van de SlimmerIQuiz op 9 oktober 2013 en is opnieuw jurylid bij de Mensa Fonds veiling vrijdag a.s.

1. Willem, hoe kijk je terug op de finale van de SlimmerIQuiz?
Ik heb met heel veel plezier deze rol op me genomen. Het was erg leuk te zien dat de SlimmerIQuiz zo aanslaat en dat de kinderen zo gefocused waren. Alle kinderen waren allemaal gekomen met één doel: de fietsen winnen. Presentatrice Dolores Leeuwin is iemand die perfect met een groep kinderen om kan gaan. Als jurylid was ik getroffen door de soms slimme “bijdehand” antwoorden op lastige vragen. De inventiviteit vierde hoogtij wat het voor de jury niet altijd makkelijk maakte om te zeggen of iets “goed” of “fout” was. Af en toe was juryoverleg echt nodig en ook binnen de jury was af en toe discussie over de inventieve antwoorden.
Ik kijk er op terug als een ervaring waar heeeel veel mensen een plezierige middag hebben gehad, de naam SlimmerIQuiz definitief op de kaart staat en het enthousiasme inspireert mij en vele anderen om de komende jaren aan de verankering in de schoolagenda te werken.

2. Wat vond je van de SlimmerIQuiz zelf?
Als niet onderwijskundige vond ik de variëteit in de vragen bijzonder. Maar ik heb geen onderwijs achtergrond. De quizvragen zijn vanuit een theorie samengesteld die mij onbekend was. En ik hoef me niet te schamen, ook ik wist niet alle antwoorden. Het meest inspirerend vond ik het enthousiasme van de leerlingen EN het meegereisde onderwijzend personeel. Kijk, dat inspireert mij om de organisatoren te blijven ondersteunen, waar ze me ook nodig hebben.

3. Denk je dat jij de finale had kunnen winnen als je tussen de deelnemers had gezeten?
Laat ik daar vooral een oprecht en niet een politiek antwoord op geven: Ik denk dat ik een goede kans zou hebben gemaakt maar in deze wereld is niets zeker. 🙂

4. Raad jij Mensa leden aan om deel te nemen aan de SlimmerIQuiz op het feest van 3 januari a.s.?
Ja, om twee redenen. Ten eerste is het gewoon hartstikke leuk om aan een quiz mee te doen, Mensalen doen graag quizzen. Ten tweede, iets serieuzer, het is goed als meer Mensaleden een beeld krijgen van de SlimmerIQuiz. Er is immers besloten de SlimmerIQuiz de komende jaren voort te zetten en dat creëert groeiende PR-perspectieven voor Vereniging Mensa. En, oh ja, dat vergat ik nog; de opbrengst gaat naar een erkende ANBI instelling: Stichting Mensa Fonds!

5. Wat motiveert jou om wederom jurylid te zijn en wat kunnen we van jou verwachten op 3 januari?
Ik wil werken aan een gezellige middag EN ik werk graag aan de PR van deze quiz. Wat je van mij mag verwachten? Een integere jury, omkoopbaar voor 1000,= per antwoord per vraag (bate Stichting Mensa Fonds), en veel fun! Mijn bestuursadagium was “ creating more dynamics”  en daar ga ik vrijdag zeker voor! Ik zal een ander karakter zijn dan het jurylid in “de slimste mens van Nederland”, Maarten van Rossem.

Deze blog gaat over de 1e Mensa SlimmeriQuiz. Actuele informatie vind je op

Lees ook: maak kennis met Mensa SlimmerIQuiz presentator

Another interesting blog is Mensa Fonds Awards: why?

50 Years Mensa the Netherlands

50 years mensa the netherlands  50 years Mensa the Netherlands!
This weekend (and in fact during all 2013) we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Mensa the Netherlands. There is so much to be proud of! We are steadily growing, counting now exactly 4450 members. We are flourishing, almost every day a Mensa activity is organised so no Mensa member needs to be bored 🙂 What is really great is how members enjoy the intense contacts and great atmosphere in Mensa the Netherlands, as shows our new movie (in Dutch):
Please enjoy the movie and when you’re a Dutch Mensa member: happy birthday! Let’s toast on many more beautiful Mensa years in the Netherlands.

Read also Mensa Fonds NL born yesterday!

You might like this blog too: Professor Mönks receives international Mensa Award

Mensa Fonds NL born yesterday!

Mensa Int 65 yrs




Mensa Fonds NL born yesterday!

I am very happy to tell you that the business meeting of Mensa NL yesterday supported strongly and with great enthusiasm the creation of a Dutch Mensa Foundation. The decision that we want a Foundation was taken at the business meeting 2012 and we worked hard to realize it during the last year. It was my dream already during a long time to create a Dutch Mensa Foundation, and it takes time and effort to win people and turn it into a largely supported and well worked out idea: and I could!
Mensa members really feel that some things in society concerning high intelligence should change or be encouraged much more. The aims of the Dutch Mensa Fonds are:
          show / make visible the significance of high intelligence for society
          support research and best practices to use high intelligence optimally
         create positive awareness about high giftedness and societal opportunities

A 4-year program has been made and quite some Mensa members have offered financial support!The Mensa Fonds will work within the Netherlands and only outside in cooperation with Mensa Foundations in other countries; sofar, just American MERF ( but maybe, hopefully other countries will follow. Mensa is such a beautiful project to work on!

Read here about the Awards this new Mensa Fonds hands out
And here about the Mensa SlimmerIQuiz


Mensa member Angela Riddering publishes book about trust

presentatie veldgids vertrouwen  Angela Riddering publishes book
Wednesday 20th March, Mensa member Angela Riddering presented the new book she wrote ‘Veldgids vertrouwen’. You can find the book here:
We know Angela as a creative person. So the book presentation was in some misty place called Worm in Rotterdam, where the toilets were made out of plastic and the floor consisted of former Dutch Fortis Bank desktops. As a person from Amsterdam, I do not think I will ever understand the people in Rotterdam but I can admire them, though 🙂
Angela is one of those multi-talented people, she celebrated the presentation with a performance of her band playing the themes of her book in music. Music, the book, also her Mensa activities are just hobbies as she has a serious job in local government – or maybe the job should be considered as her hobby…
The book is very nice, it is designed in an original way and the structure is a real ‘field guide’ (veldgids): the different parts of the book can be read all by themselves but there is an overall idea and structure. After reading this book, you won’t say any more one-sided things like ‘trust is good, control is better’. Both trust and control get their place in management and governance styles in this book, and style choices can be made by the reader following the lines Angela and her co-writer Frans de Jong draw.
Thanks Angela, for another nice meeting and for offering a good new book to the world!

Other books you may like:
Ik kan vliegen
My new book about diversity at work
Good night stories for rebel girls

High gifted people at work: potential not fully used (yet)

High gifted people at work
High gifted people who work freelance are much happier in their work than high gifted people who work in a company, actual Dutch research results reveal (see In general, high gifted workers are positive about the work they do, they have a good work-life balance and not too much stress. However, when it comes to passion, HIQ’s who work independently are much more passionate than the average Dutch worker and HIQ’s who work in companies are clearly less passionate than the average Dutch worker. This is a big contrast.
Mensa members are not really surprised about this outcome. We knew this already and what we like is that there is now scientific evidence for it! 1250 HIQ’s cooperated for this research, 80+% of them being Mensans as Mensa the Netherlands supported this research of the University of Utrecht.
Another outcome: 37% of HIQ’s in companies are bored and lack challenge; this is again much more than average Dutch workers. So there is a lot of neglected potential in companies, even in times of crisis where companies absolutely need all available talents to survive and if possible innovate. HIQ’s are innovators. So most probably these research results (that are the first part of much more results to follow) indicate that Dutch companies are not good enough and not fast enough in innovation – yet. HIQ will be discovered in the near future as an excellent source of that, I am sure!

Read more about Left Handers Day and High Giftedness or about Portraying highgiftedness

Professor Mönks receives international Mensa Award

Professor Mönks wins Mensa Award

The Mensa Foundation ( has given the Mensa Foundation Life Time Achievement Award and a US$ 1000 cheque to Dutch professor Frans Jozef Mönks. It was handed out by the international Mensa chair Willem Bouwens at the ECHA conference in Münster, Germany last Thursday. Professor Mönks was himself one of the founders of ECHA (see also, now the biggest and best conference in Europe about gifted children with over 1000 visitors.
Professor Mönks wrote his first article on highgiftedness in 1963, a time when highly giftedness was far from getting any attention. He pioneered in this area, and he has an impressive track record.  He was also the founder of the excellent Centre for Research on Giftedness at the Radboud University in Nijmegen (the Netherlands), and at the age of 80 he is still working at the Radboud University on ‘psychology and pedagogy of the gifted child’.  Also he continues publishing on the subject.
Mensa the Netherlands ( is very proud of him and the Life Time Achievement Award that recognizes the immense benefits of his work for gifted children!
We are working to start our own Mensa Foundation in The Netherlands, in cooperation with MERF that has its roots in American Mensa. The launch is planned in 2013 when Mensa the Netherlands celebrates its 50 year existence. Further news about that will follow….
For now, I like to congratulate professor Mönks and thank him for his ‘life time’ work!

Read more about Mensa:
Mensa SlimmerIQuiz
Mensa NL 50 years
Mensa Foundation in the Netherlands

Nikhef meets Mensa

nikhef meets mensa  Nikhef meets Mensa

Last weekend professor Frank Linde, director Nikhef helt two lectures (for the price of one) for a Mensa audience. That happened because at the beginning of his lecture, he told that he had two lectures and asked the audience to choose. Mensans don’t choose if they foresee that lots of interesting information is coming up. And Frank Linde accepted the challenge, I think he thought the audience would get satisfied soon enough – but they didn’t. It was a great experience both for the lecturer and for the Mensa members. See the comments of Frank Linde here at his Nikhef blog. It is very funny and gives a great impression of the evening.

I was in the audience myself, preceding professor Linde’s lecture with the formal opening of that Mensa weekend as chair of Mensa NL. During the opening I gave away a puzzle of Japanese Mensa to the Mensa member who was first to solve a riddle. Frank Linde showed immediately great interest. He was intrigued by the Japanese Mensa puzzle – being intrigued the way he was, we call that: ‘potential Mensa material’. And he is right, curiosity is a joy and puzzles are there to be solved.

It is great that so many interesting people are interested in Mensa nowadays. We have transformed from a somehow inward looking club into an organisation open in full communication with the world. High intelligence can be fun: it is more appreciated now than it was in the past and both the world and the Mensa members themselves will profit from that shift of perception!

More info about Mensa at
Read also these blogs:
Mensa Fonds NL born yesterday!
Spanish Mensa and Spanish Princess

Highgiftedness ‘from the inside’

highgiftedness  Highgiftedness ‘from the inside’

A new Dutch book was published with 13 interviews of high gifted people: Ongekend hoogbegaafd / the unknown highgifted by Jacqueline Lucas. She wants to show ‘from the inside’ what it is like to be high gifted, how this advantage can come with difficulties and under what conditions it will develop as a real advantage. The presentation of the book was last Friday, and the room was packed with participants. It was interesting to see how many people nowadays feel for this subject, even claim ownership of the theme. Quite some participants got recently aware of their high intelligence, and were in the middle of the process of ‘what does this mean for me’.

It is very good that talent development gets more and serious attention. The problem side of highgiftedness is still a bit over-represented in my opinion, but let’s hope and contribute so that that will stabilize. We need more policies to profit from the talents that we have in our country.
A recent government study shows that the Dutch education system can do more than average for weak students, compared to other European countries, but it can do less than average for strong students…. And we claim that our future lies in a good and strong knowledge economy. There is some work to be done then! Let’s go for it, and include high gifted people both in our education and in our working environment.

Other blogs that may be interesting for you:
Nikhef meets Mensa
Finals Mensa SlimmerIQuiz coming up
Ik kan vliegen: wow!
Mensa member Angela Riddering publishes book about trust

South Korean wisdom

south korean wisdom South Korean wisdom

What is unique about being a Mensa member (for Mensa, see or is the news and wisdom that can come to you from Mensa members all over the world. This week, a Mensa member from South Korea with a scientific background, enlightened us with this post deriving from South Korean wisdom, that you need to read twice to get to the bottom of it:
Once upon a time, a king ordered to execute a prisoner.
The prisoner cried and cursed that the king will suffer in the hell.
One of king’s subordinates said ‘You are too disrespectful to the king.’
The prisoner responded ‘I will be killed soon, I can say any word.’
Two subordinates returned to the king, and the king asked ‘Did he regret?’
One subordinate said ‘Yes, your majesty. He even prayed God to forgive you who ordered the execution.’
The king said ‘Hm, I must stop the execution.’
Another subordinate interrupted. ‘No, your majesty. It is a lie. He did not regret. and even cursed you’
The king said ‘I know that your words are nearer to the truth. But, his words sound better than yours.’
The subordinate appealed ‘Your majesty know the truth, but I am being blamed to tell a truth.’
The king said ‘He lied but he has a good intention, while you told me a truth, but you have a bad intention. Not infrequently, a lie with a good intention is better than a truth with a bad intention.’ At last, the execution was canceled.
Please learn from this South Korean wisdom and enjoy!

Other blogs you may like:
Maak kennis met Mensa SlimmerIQuiz presentator
Jurylid Mensa SlimmerIQuiz: inventiviteit viert hoogtij
Mensa Fonds Awards: why?
Never ever give up
Nikhef meets Mensa